The elite should beware – a white van and laptop rebellion is underway

A version of this article recently appeared on the International Business Times website. Those running small businesses usually side with the elite. Increasingly, they’re doing the opposite By Robert Kelsey As a co-founder of the Centre of Entrepreneurs think-tank I’ve become a missionary for UK entrepreneurship. We believe the surge in small-business creation and self-employment since 2008 saved Britain from a …

Is Isis the ICF of Islam?

Why do I disagree with right-of-centre commentators on social issues when I tend to agree with them on economics? Perhaps it’s to do with applying our experiences to any given view, which is certainly the case when it comes to the rise of Islamically-inspired terrorism and, critically, its attraction for adolescent Muslim males brought-up in Europe’s inner cities. Not that I have any experience of …

Groups to avoid: the moaning canteen gang

I call them the “moaning canteen gang” – that coterie within any sizeable company that hates their employer. They’re certain their bosses can do no right – and are vocal in letting everyone know: advertising their disgruntlement – usually during breaks – like a badge of honour. The moaning canteen gang is a tight unit. It knows who’s onside and …

Seaside towns: the outsiders at the end of the line

A leading think tank, for which I’m the proud Deputy Chairman, recently produced a report on seaside towns, and how best to revive them. Indeed, many of Britain’s seaside towns are pockets of deprivation with high unemployment and low growth: long on social ills, short on employable skills. What, and who, can reverse such a depressing trajectory? Given that the …

From Brick Lane to Mayfair via Uber: a typical week in outsider town

I love my city, not least because I consider London the world capital of outsiders. That said, a run of news this week reminds me that – even in London – being an outsider can be a challenge, not least because it’s not always obvious who’s the outsider, and what constitutes being on the inside. First up, the attack by …

Thoughts on my father

Dad died on Sunday. I’m still waiting for the emotions to kick in, although I’m mainly concerned for my mother who’d spent three years visiting him daily – watching the decline of a once-proud man. A good day was one where she’d managed to feed him, or where they’d been a flicker of recognition at her arrival. On bad days …

Essex breeds outsiders like nowhere else

A version of this article appeared in the Essex Chronicle Bestselling author Robert Kelsey has just written The Outside Edge with the aim of helping those that “don’t belong” succeed on their own terms What does a white male know about being an outsider at work or in business? Since the publication of The Outside Edge: How Outsiders Can Succeed …

Outsider artists and the caricaturing of Essex

  Two Essex artists have grabbed my attention this week. Centuries apart, they reveal not only the changing culture and demography of my home county but also the changing nature of outsidership. We’ll start with John Constable (1776-1837) – a candidate to dignify the new £20 note (you can vote for him here). Born and raised on the Essex-Suffolk border, Constable …

The centre-right’s lights are going out all over Europe

Despite conspiracies about folded ballot papers, the chances are UKIP will do well in the European elections, to be declared Sunday. Many will interpret this as a growing intolerance of immigration in the UK, especially England. Others may note that, across Europe, populist parties are on the rise (usually combining anti-immigration with a dislike for Brussels bureaucracy) – whether in …